Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista still not ready to retire

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Fans show their appreciation with a sign for Jose Bautista
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Fans show their appreciation with a sign for Jose Bautista /

The writing is on the wall for former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, but he is not ready to admit it.

When last we saw Jose Bautista, the former Toronto Blue Jays slugger was making a tour of the National League East. He had signed with the Braves on April 18, 2018, lasting 40 plate appearances before being released on May 20. The Mets signed Bautista two days later, and later managed to flip him to the Phillies for cash considerations as Philadelphia tried desperately to make a playoff push.

After that trip around the NL East, it was apparent that Bautista was no longer the hitter he had been. Overall, in his 399 plate appearances, he produced a mediocre .203/.348/.378 batting line. While he did hit 13 homers and draw 67 walks, he also struck out 111 times as his bat looked slow. Father Time had caught up with Bautista.

Nonetheless, he refused to retire. Bautista declared his intention to play in 2019, but did not find any takers. After sitting out all last season, Bautista remains undeterred, and has once again declared that he is not ready to retire.

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Bautista has had a solid career. After joining the Blue Jays and making adjustments to his swing, he became one of the more feared sluggers in the beginning part of the decade. A six time All Star and three time Silver Slugger, he led the AL in homers and walks twice, and finished in the top ten of the MVP vote four times.

However, teams do not pay for the past, especially now. Instead, teams are looking to maximize their expenditures, locking in younger players to long term extensions instead of signing aging sluggers in free agency. The economic landscape of the game has changed.

If Bautista is going to continue his playing career, it will need to be on a minor league deal. Any interested team will need to see that he can actually still swing the bat, that his once potent power has not completely deserted him. Yet, he was unable to even generate that type of offer last year, making all the more unlikely that a team will come calling this offseason.

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Jose Bautista may not be ready to retire just yet, but that does not mean the former Toronto Blue Jays star will have another chance at the majors. Instead, the game has shown him the door, even if he refuses to accept it.